Town officials in Fairview are increasingly concerned about a crumbling bridge after learning its replacement has been pushed back by nearly a year.
The bridge, which spans Goose Creek on Highway 218, was scheduled to be replaced in 2013 after a North Carolina Department of Transportation inspection report found several parts of the bridge were in critical or poor condition.
But last week, town officials learned the project has been delayed until 2014.
"What are they waiting on, someone to get killed?" asked town councilman Arnold Price.
Price and other town officials have been concerned about the steadily increasing traffic on the bridge for years.
Many tractor-trailers, weighted well over the bridge's posted limit of 38 tons, use Highway 218 -- and the bridge -- to bypass inspections on the interstate. Traffic has also picked up in the summer, as it is a popular alternate route for beachgoers.
"Sometimes to get out of my driveway, I have to wait 10 minutes to get out of my driveway on 218. The bridge itself is a death trap," Price said.
Multiple town officials believe NCDOT is underestimating the amount of traffic doing damage to the bridge. In its most recent inspection report, dated January 2011, an NCDOT engineer cited average daily traffic totals from 2009.
Price questioned why numbers three years old are being used to gauge the safety of the bridge today.
"I don’t know where they're getting their figures," Price said.
NCDOT responded Wednesday afternoon, saying it is not policy to do a traffic data study every year, and said officials would close the bridge to all traffic if it were unsafe.
An NCDOT spokeswoman also said the project was delayed to a time when workers could finish construction within a shorter period time, so the road would not be closed as long for residents.